Monday, March 31, 2008

Mr. Wildcat

Mr. Wildcat, Bill Keightley, passed away tonight. The abrutness of it has left me shocked and really sad for someone I've never met. I feel terrible for his family, but at the same time, sometimes it's better when these things happen quickly so the family members don't have to watch their loved ones suffer. This is a huge loss for the University of Kentucky and its fanbase, but we should all keep in mind what a loss it is to his family and close friends. Billy G. said this is one of the saddest days of his life, and that Keightley had become one of his "very best friends." And that's after only spending one season with him.

Keightley started with the Cats back in 1962, serving under Rupp, Hall, Pitino, Smith, and now Gillispie. The man saw it all. And it may be hard to comprehend this, but he was far more loyal to and a bigger fan of the University of Kentucky basketball team than you. I can only expect that the program and its fanbase will honor him to the fullest degree.

1 comment:

Corman said...

ESPN inundates us with images of fans with painted chests and raised fingers and we begin to believe that dedication really does look like that. But it doesn't. Dedication is 46 years of hauling uniforms, organizing lockers, filling water coolers and rolling ball racks into position for practice's opening drills. During his time here at the University of Kentucky Mr. Bill was a part of more than 1,150 wins. He came in every day, driving a beat-up old Ford pickup (which usually held a cardboard sign on the dash reading UK EQUIPMENT MANAGER - DO NOT TOW) and worked 14 hour days just so his beloved Wildcats could run smoothly on and off the court. Personally, Bill Keightley is as much a part of the Kentucky Basketball tradition I know as anything else, and I'll miss seeing him before every game, laughing and shaking hands with everyone he came into contact with. I vote that the new practice center, with all apologies to the generous Mr. Craft, be renamed Bill Keightley Center, and that his trademarked seat next to the scorer's table be left empty forever. It is, and I mean this completely, the least we could do.

On, On, U of K.